View Full Version : Print exposure
Years ago, I did some wet printing and I still have the (basic equipment):
- enlarger (very very basic and antique model --- it didn't even have a decent lens mount, so I glued an M42 thread onto it's bottom, so I can use one of my Takumars as enlarger lens
- 3 baths
- multigrade filters (Ilford)
- even an unfinished bag of paper (must be ~15 years old)
I remember that I decided on the right exposure by exposing a test sheet with bands of incremental exposure (should they be logarmithmic?: e.g. 1 sec - 2 sec - 4 sec - 8 sec - 16 sec), developed and picked the best one.
- Is this common practice?
- How do you pick the right contrast? Before or after getting the right exposure? Will changing the multigrade filter require a new exposure test?
- How many test sheets do you spill on the average to get a print righ??
I usually do a test strip with 2-second intervals at a "standard" aperture, i.e. 5.6 or 8, and pick for exposure. If I'm happy with contrast, I print as is; if I want greater/lesser I add different contrast filters (while still maintaining the same print time, mostly. read on) until I get proper contrast. After I find the right contrast filter, I do another test strip with the contrast filter so that I ensure a proper print time.
Any contrast filter under grade 3 requires very little, if any, change in exposure. However, grade 3 and higher can require at least one additional stop in exposure, and for 5 or higher 2 stops might be necessary.
I usually spend 2 8x10s in testing before I find myself able to make a final straight (no dodges or burns) print, 3 if I'm having a bad day.
remember: Printing a new negative is all about experimentation, so don't get frustrated if it takes a little while. If you need to dodge or burn a picture allow for spending a lot more paper to get all the nuances correct. Most of all, turn that music up and have fun!
Here's how my 'new' darkroom looks like:
Pretty basic, he? I had little time over noon, but managed to make two half decent prints. A bit too flat in the end and maybe a bit underexposed. Now I plan to make some comparisons between the results on the same shot
A. on computer monitor
1) after filmscanning the negative and postprocessing on PC
2) after printing on paper and scanning on flatbed
B. on paper
1) after filmscanning and postprocessing on PC and digital print
2) after printing on paper
And I hope that I can improve my process...
A question: I'm using the Ilford multi-grade filters (and paper) and did the two prints with 3 1/2 grade. Is that above normal? What's considered to be the 'normal' grade which is suitable for 'normally' developed film? Because of filmscanning, my development process is delivering rather flat negatives. so I guess that's why I require high contrast printing?
My only tip for printing is to make a standardised contact print of the negs. Then you can see how far they deviate from that exposure and contrast (I end up with 8s at f5,6, grade 2, on 8"x10" paper) and can quickly make adjustments when printing, based on the standard value you have already seen. The contacts should be exposed so that you can just barely tell the difference between the film-base and bare paper.
This works well for me with metered camera-exposures, although it may not be so useful for estimated ones as the variation between shots will probably be larger.
However, I would recommend not using the 15 year old paper !!! Also, develop the paper for whatever time it says on the dev bottle (typically two minutes), and always for the same amount of time. This means the blacks are well developed and the wet part of the process can be as consistent as reasonably possible.
useful tips, especially the contact print reference seems like a good idea! Thanks.
And to reassure: I bought some new paper together with the paper developer. I'll keep the old for some occasional experimenting.
vBulletin® v3.6.8, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.